Partners Patrick G. Vipond and Denise M. Destache recently obtained summary judgment dismissal on behalf of a Nebraska hospital, emergency room physician, and anesthesiologist in a medical malpractice lawsuit arising out of allegations of a delay in treatment. Key to the success was an understanding and analysis of the legal burdens and requirements for causation in medical malpractice actions in Nebraska.
LDM’s defense effort involved two separate motions for summary judgment and a motion to strike last-minute affidavits from the plaintiff’s expert witnesses. In response to LDM’s motion for summary judgment on causation, plaintiff attempted to fix their causation problem by offering new opinions from their expert witnesses. The Court granted the motion for summary judgment on causation, dismissing the entire action before trial because the plaintiff failed to establish a causal link between any alleged negligence and the alleged injuries. Notably, the Court agreed with Mr. Vipond and Ms. Destache that the plaintiff’s evidence would result in asking a jury to reach a conclusion based on the guess, speculation, and conjecture based on the plaintiff’s causation expert.
The Court also granted a contingent motion for summary judgment on behalf of the hospital, finding that the plaintiff provided no evidence that the hospital – or any of its employees – violated the standard of care. This outstanding ruling was largely based on the Court finding that the physicians were independent contractors, rather than employees of the hospital.
Finally, the Court also agreed with Mr. Vipond and Ms. Destache in granting their motion to strike, finding that there was no sufficient explanation for the change in plaintiff’s expert witness testimony other than the impending trial.